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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 15, 2014 6:30am-7:01am EDT

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but i also know that it is really not about me. it's about some basic issues that affect all journalists and all americans. there are a couple of things i can say and one is that the justice department and the obama administration are the ones who turned this into a fundamental fight over press freedom. in their appeal to the fourth circuit, they said this case, the central issue in this case was not some details or specifics. the fundamental thing this case was about was there was no such thing as reporters privilege.
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if you read the government's brief in the fourth circuit appeal, it's what they say -- there's no such thing as a reporters privilege. so they turned this case into a showdown over the first amendment and freedom of the press in the united states. i am happy to carry on that fight, but it wasn't me who really started it. [laughter] this has been a long case -- i got subpoenaed in 2008 first, but what i can say now is with all of these people showing their support, i'm willing to keep fighting because now i know i have just an enormous group of people supporting me. one of the things i would like to say is the real reason i am doing this is for the future of journalism.
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my oldest son, tom, standing right there, is a journalist. i want to make sure the same protections i have had in my career are there for the future reporters in america. there is no way we could do our jobs if we don't have the ability to have aggressive investigative reporting in america and have the ability to maintain confidential sources. there is just no way to conduct aggressive investigative reporting without a reporters privilege of some kind, without confidential sources. i don't believe you can have democracy without aggressive investigative reporting and
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freedom of the press. so i just wanted to come here again and say thank you to everyone. it is really amazing. thank you. [applause] crocs can you talk about how this has affected your ability to do your job? >> i did not want to answer questions. it has obviously had an effect. but i try to keep working. i'm just trying to do what i can. thanks. [applause] >> we have a bit of time for q&a. because this is being streamed live, i would like to ask people isgo to the mic there, which are any there questions.
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please keep them brief and identify yourself and news organization. i think i see a little movement in this direction. are there any questions? over to my left. >> i'm reporting with take part media. this is to james -- i know you do not want to have questions, but we are here to defend press freedom. i know that attorney holder says no reporter is going to jail for doing his job, can you speak to the specifics of how the case is going to play out from now on? it is my understanding you have no other options to appeal. timing or whatever specifics you can share on that. >> call my lawyer. [laughter] just a brief answer -- mr.
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holder has said that on his watch no reporter will go to prison for doing his job. however, the alternate evil -- it is just as bad or worse for the first amendment. i'm talking to a room full of reporters and if i tell you doing your job will result in bankruptcy, will you continue doing your job? it's that simple. think you. >> stephen nelson from u.s. news. president obama just gave a press statement less than an hour ago about the missouri protests. he said police there should not be bullying or arresting reporters who are doing their jobs. i would like your opinion on whether you welcome this or whether the president should take his own advice here? for anyone --
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>> one thing i meant to say was i wanted to express my support for the reporters who were arrested and detained in ferguson. the central question we are all facing now is how does the first amendment and the freedom of the press survive in a post 9/11 age? it is all part of the same issue. >> ria novosti. i would like to ask someone on the panel -- i know you mentioned the trend away from democracy and toward an authoritarian form of government. other speakers brought up cases where the administration whoever , is sitting in the executive office, basically gets to
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determine the narrative of truth and whoever brings up a counter narrative is either slandered, not published, or other things happen. if you or perhaps someone else on the panel could address this trend, also that it is happening more and more under president barack obama -- bush was criticized so much from the left and now it is happening under a liberal or a democrat as a president. where is this trend going? >> i think with this case illustrates, the broader trends, are some threats to press freedom, but i think it's important to put that into a global context. there are many countries, including russia, that have far worse press room records and
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were journalists are imprisoned or killed and their murderers are never investigated. in most cases of journalist murders, nine out of 10 are never investigated. we know of several outstanding in russia as well. so we do have to keep this in perspective. there are threats to the free practice of journalism and luckily we live in a country that has rule of law and due process. in many countries, those things are missing, so let's keep this in perspective and not let this become an excuse for authoritarian governments to use in their crackdown on press freedom. >> nor should we let the fact that authoritarian regimes exist give us an excuse to browbeat journalists that are doing their jobs. i think that the core of the issue is the expansive national security state.
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one can make an argument that in the name of national security, you can do x, y, or z. you can censor speech by classifying certain information and so on. the problem is the number of classified documents has increased exponentially since 9/11 and that has turned into something where information that is embarrassing to the government becomes classified. i know this in my experience as an attorney representing guantánamo detainees and later representing criminal suspects in the united states. never -- had you asked me five or seven years ago if i thought my expertise in national security or in guantánamo would make me suitable or be the value added to joining a case where i represent a journalist -- just think about that. i get calls from journalists that want me to represent them because i represented guantánamo
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prisoners. that is perspective. [laughter] >> i've got another question for james -- i know you don't want to take any more questions -- questions, but could you talk about the harassment you faced under the bush administration for your national security reporting and the fact that this subpoena was dropped by the bush administration and has been renewed under the obama administration. >> you are going to get me in trouble with my lawyers. first of all, the subpoena was not dropped under the bush administration. it expired. the first one expired in 2009. it was after the bush administration left and then it was renewed by the obama
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administration, a whole series of subpoenas. in my affidavit, in one of them, i think i filed several of them i talk about the harassment i got during the bush administration, so that is public in the court documents. where i describe all of the efforts, both public and some private efforts by the administration to in my view , to harass me and try to have a chilling effect on reporting i was doing. if you remember, if you were in 2005 or there was a lot in 2006, the press about that.
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it was a fairly conservative effort against me and both -- it was a fairly conservative effort licthblau, my colleague at "the new york times." it got pretty intense. >> i wonder how hopeful are you this collective effort will make a dent -- what would follow and a sideline question -- is this an opportunity to push back against a federal shield law? >> i will address the first part of that. in 2008, obama delegates at the democratic national convention -- i can say the democratic party has given hope a bad name in the past years. your question about how hopeful
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i am, i have some trepidation to directly answer. i do think this is an inherently a political case being pursued by this administration. you will notice if you go to, you can read all the statements. also at the freedom of the press foundation website, all of the statements issued, 20 this week by pulitzer prize winners. one of those journalists flat out said something i think is true based on the evidence -- this is a vendetta against james risen. john rizzo'sad book, the former head of the legal department the cia that came out this year, "company man" he makes clear there has been a lot of hostility towards james risen at the cia for a while. he is the most vilified
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journalist in the entire book , memoirs of 30 years. that to me indicates the political nature of this entire effort by the justice department. the hope that i think we generally have is continued momentum of what we have seen in recent weeks to bring this issue to public spotlight and create more of a groundswell of public pressure. anybody have comments on the ?ther aspects yucc >> one thing i see from these kinds of actions is that first of all if you look at it, there is a political washington and there's a career washington. it is really career washington, the fbi, the nsa people who do these investigations and want to stop leaks in the first place. post 9/11, they have had more and more power to track that information.
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my point is not to give the obama administration any breaks here, but it's going to get worse no matter who is in charge politically. the best and maybe only antidote to that is a groundswell of public support. that says we're not going to stand for this anymore. that's why petitions like this are so important. that's also hopefully going to lead to a federal shield law. congress does not act in the abstract. it needs to see, unfortunately, someone going to jail or threatened with jail to really get going and ask. in the states, we often see shield laws enacted when there's a state controversy. and on the federal level it has happened the so way. -- the same way. first with valerie plame and then with other incidents.
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this is the kind of thing that will prompt action and i hope it is enough along with the popular outpouring in favor of it to get something done in congress. >> i had a follow-up for you. you were talking about the shield laws being discussed in the senate and the house, would those apply to the ones like james risen? >> it's all in the wording, but we think it is finessed enough to say that the exemption for national security cases is going to come into play when there is an ongoing threat to national security. not when there is an effort to examine something in the past . as long as we maintain that -- obviously the wording can change day to day it goes through every step of congress, but that's a critical thing. the government will always want the ability to investigate incidents where there truly is a current, real meaningful threat , to the national security and we are never going to win that one. it makes sense if there's
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literally a bomb that's going to go off, they want to investigate everything they can. as long as that limit is in there and we can keep it, it can be meaningful and i think it can help in cases like this. >> i'm not a journalist, have a follow-up question. i'm a law student at stanford and i'm doing a phd there. i worked with trevor at freedom of the press and am curious if you can talk or about how the shield bill would protect , as it is written, journalists like mr. risen. i know he spoke at the sources and secrets conference and said he did not think he would the protected under the bill as it is currently written. i think the language you are pointing to, in the senate version, there's language about preventing or mitigating future attacks. and the idea of preventing or mitigating doesn't seem to have a future tense to it. the idea of mitigating attack seems likely to be focused on any sort of ongoing terrorist activity so anything could be
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covered under the exception. i ask you this because i wonder if you can help me see the bill you see it. the way i read it everyone is , going to fall through the loophole, so the way it is written now it might do more harm than good. that said, aside from the shield bill, are there other solutions you might be able to put forward that might be equally useful to help address the kind of situation we are seeing here? thanks. >> the thing i would point out is everything we hope for is an incremental change. there is no golden ticket that's going to solve everything. you can't ask the government to solve everything. they will not do it. it has to be by reporters continuing to do great work and having the public stand up for that. with that in mind, we never felt the shield law was perfect. we feel it's an incremental change. we never felt the national
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security exception should be as broad as the senate wanted to be. but you fight over every little word and hope to get something that will put the brakes on most investigations. and mitigating harm from a terrorist attack, if that is the only exception, that is going to stop a lot of the subpoenas we have talked about, a lot of the whistleblower investigations we have talked about even today or when we name all the ones the obama administration is looking into, it is not a cure-all. there is no perfect way to get all of this done. but every little thing helps -- getting the department of justice to have a better policy about what they will do before it issues a subpoena is a big step. the assistant u.s. attorney out there who now knows he has to jump through a lot of hoops and ask for permission from washington and directly from the
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attorney general will hesitate an ausa whoten than can subpoena anybody. or get any records. it all helps and none of it is perfect is the best i can say. we never thought the shield law was perfect. i would argue for absolute privilege and the courts, if only the courts would agree with me. >> i think we have time for one more question. to james risen. this is not about your work but it's about the effect of the last six years on your sources. are they still motivated or even more motivated and what new guarantees do they ask? what has changed in their way of coming out with the information , especially in the sector of national security?
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>> you don't really think i'm going to answer that, do you? [laughter] i'm not going to answer it. thanks. [laughter] >> i will give you an answer, at least as someone who is representing the sources in a lot of this. i've mentioned there are -- i can count on two hands the number of journalists i actually feel safe taking a whistleblower to in this country because of the climate. one of them is jim risen. it's a very strict test to ask someone if they would be willing to go to jail to protect a source. whistleblowers have to face that question every day now. are you willing to go to jail to blow the whistle and tell the truth and reveal fraud, waste, abuse and illegality? are you willing to be the one
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put in jail or exiled from your country and rendered stateless? it's a huge price to pay that both whistleblowers and journalists are taking to get this information out to the public interest, and we need your support in congress on protection bills for whistleblowers, on surveillance reform bills, and reporter shield bills. i know in the whistleblower protection legislation the national security exemption loophole swallows everything because i could probably link this glass of water to national security if you give me five minutes. i hope that helps answer. >> can i make two quick points? go ahead. >> i just want to add to that -- the community to protect journalists put out a report last year that includes dozens of interviews with journalists about the impact of these issues on their reporting. it is on our website, but it is essentially a broad overview
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, it has had an impact on sources going -- not only whistleblowers but sources and general and the society of professional journalists recently sent a letter about new rules that have come out from the administration and from there he is -- and from various departments of the government prohibiting basic contact with journalists. the insider threat program and other things like this that cpj and others have signed on to in opposition. we see across the board, from whistleblowers to general functionaries and subject experts that this is having an impact on reporters being able to speak to their sources. >> on that note, i want to mention as we adjourn the news conference -- we do have this room for another hour for one-on-one interviews and discussions, so you don't have to rush off, but i want to thank everybody for being here. [applause]
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>> i just want to add before everyone leaves -- i'm president of the newspaper guild and we did award the herb block freedom award to james risen yesterday, which we hope you will receive in october. it's not enough to commit journalism, you have to act to protect it. and that is why we honor james the knightit was ridder bureau in the lead up, to iraq, then it became mcclatchy. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> tonight on c-span, stories from the civil war. including the battle of
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chattanooga, a tour of the old slave mart in charleston, south carolina. a look at medicine, and confederate propaganda promoting the southern cause in europe. here is a preview. >> in a remarkable scene late that day, union troops will penetrate the confederate line along the crest of ms missionary ridge at multiple points almost simultaneously. sending the confederate army back down into georgia. with that union success on november 25 and a brief pursuit on the 26 and 27, chattanooga is now firmly in union hands. it will be turned by the union winterer that coming into a giant supply base. our forward operating bases today. it is from chattanooga that following spring that william
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tecumseh sherman will take a combined union army group from chattanooga towards atlanta and into the military-industrial heartland, disrupt it and destroy much of it. and bring the war to a close and this pregnant 1865. -- in the spring of 1865. observers believe that success in chattanooga was a signal of union success in the war. some have said that this was the death knell of the confederacy. c-span's american history tour of the civil war. tonight starting at 8:00 eastern. >> here is a great read, "sundays at 8:00." a collection of stories from some of the nation's most influential people over the last
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25 years. >> i always knew there was a risk in the bohemian lifestyle. i decided to take it. whether it is an illusion or not, i do not think it is, it helps my concentration, it stopped me being bored and stopped other people being boring, to some extent. , puttingkeep me awake on a longer conversation. if i was asked what i do it again, the answer is probably yes. hoping to get away with the whole thing. easy for me to say, not very nice to my children. sounds irresponsible if i say i would do all that again to you. but it would be if the critical -- it would be hypocritical for me to say. thehe soviet union and soviet system in eastern europe contained the seeds of its own destruction. many of the problems we saw at the end begin at the very
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beginning. i spoke about the attempt to control all institutions and control all parts of the economy and political life and social life. one of the problems is that when you try to, when control everything, you create opposition and potential everywhere. if you tell all artists they have to pay the same way and no artist says i want to paint another way, you have made him into a political dissident. if you want to subsidize housing in a country and we want to talk about in the populace agrees and it is something we should subsidize, put it on the ballot and make make it clear it evident. make everybody aware of how much it is costing. when you deliver it through these third-party enterprises on the fannie mae and freddie mac, when you deliver the subsidies through a public company with private shareholders and executives who can extract a lot for themselves,
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that is not a very good way of subsidizing homeownership. >> christopher hitchens, and appelbaum, and gretchen eight,"n in "sundays at now available at your favorite bookseller. >> live on c-span, "washington journal" is next. at 11:00 a.m. eastern from the asian american journalists organization, the role of race in the upcoming congressional elections. at 12: 30 p.m. come a discussion on the conflict between russia and ukraine. in 45 minutes, terry jeffrey of creators significant -- creator signature on his views of obama's fiscal policy. , the 45th anniversary of dstock music festival
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with william greider. at 9:30, jennifer ortman and richard johnson on the join hands to to rebuild the trust that has been broken. literally, the eyes of the nation are on us. we need reconciliation to begin. that is why, today, i am announcing that the highway ting theill be direc team that provides security in ferguson. >> missouri governor jay nixon yesterday, after appointing the highway patrol to head up crowd control. brakes, a no violent